February has officially begun, and, in honor of the fast-approaching Valentine’s Day holiday, we’re offering you a chance to win a fun prize package perfect for sharing with a sweetheart or anybody you love! The package includes a bottle of red wine, a box of homemade gourmet chocolate truffles, a bouquet of flowers and two tickets to our upcoming Saturday, February 18th performance of Truth Be Told at Greenbelt Arts Center. The tickets also include admission to our gala reception following the show complete with food, wine, dancing and a chance to bid on donated art and vintage items in a silent auction. For a chance to win this great prize package, all you have to do is join our e-mailing list! Just click HERE to go to our home page and use the mailing list form to enter to win. You’ll only be asked for your name and email address. We’ll never share your contact information with a third party, but we will let you know by email if you’re the lucky winner of our Valentine’s Day prize package. Enter to win by 11:59pm on Thursday, February 16th and you’ll be notified if you won the prize package on Friday, February 17th. Good luck! And, thanks for being our valentine!
Every December I make a month-by-month year-in-review update to tuck into the Christmas cards we send to all our friends and family this time of year. Today as I dropped a nice, big stack of holiday cards into the post office box, I thought it would be fun to start a new holiday tradition celebrating another year of working with alight. I hope you enjoy our first annual alight year-in-review photo gallery. Lots of people like to do retrospectives things like this during that first week of January, but I think the holiday season is all about taking time to reflect on where you’ve been and we’re you’re headed. So, this is where we’ve been this year. We hope you enjoy taking a glance back with us as we are already busy preparing for our first performance of the new year on January 21, 8pm and January 22, 4pm at Dance Place. See you soon?
SAVE THE DATE!
Event at the Dance RINK (1750 Union Avenue #D Baltimore, MD).
Doors open at 7:30pm and entertainment begins at 8:00pm.
Tickets are $25 (includes food & one drink ticket). Starting September 15, tickets will be available for purchase online at www.alightdancetheater.org
This summer we’ve been on-location a few times shooting footage for our current project, Truth Be Told. Through the guise of a live-action “reality” show, Truth Be Told is the story of 5 women with 5 secrets who are competing for one prize and the chance to keep their secret safe. We’ve been having a lot of fun with this wacky concept, and our latest adventure was filming on-location at the Jefferson Memorial last weekend.
First of all, it was hot! I mean, really hot, like there was a serious heat advisory from 10am to 10pm last Saturday. All of us met at the Jefferson Memorial at 8am. I was carrying some bulky camera equipment (courtesy of Greenbelt Access TV) as well as dragging an even heavier cooler loaded up with ice, water and lemonade for the scorcher ahead. The dancers arrived one-by-one looking fabulous, and dancer / video artist Dianamaria Adams (pictured above) came looking cool, comfy and ready to get to work. Our reality show inspired challenge was to give a faux sincere D.C. press conference style apology for the camera on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. (And, no, we didn’t get arrested; the police on-duty were really friendly and just asked us to be respectful of other visitors.)
Dancing on marble in the heels in crazy heat is no easy task, but Michelle, Monica, Valerie, Caitlin, Sarah and Wayles braved the conditions with style! Dianamaria Adams and I will be pouring through the footage and editing our three hours of shooting into one action-packed 5-7 minute dance sequence which will unfold live and on-screen during Truth Be Told. You’ll be able to see the rough cut of the sequence at our first annual gala preview concert on Saturday, October 15th at the Dance Rink in Baltimore.
This Saturday we’ll be filming on location in Greenbelt, Maryland near the Greenbelt Community Center where we rehearse every week. If you’re out and about in Greenbelt’s Roosevelt Center this Saturday morning, you might just see us out in the sun again, looking camera ready and shooting the opening sequence of Truth Be Told.
Project Dance is a movement of dancers seeking to positively impact culture through artistic integrity. The movement was born ten years ago out of a desire to serve the people of New York City directly after the events of September 11th and it has managed to do just that. Each year thousands of New Yorkers stop to watch the concert held on a temporary stage on the corner of 44th Street and Broadway.
This year Project Dance is bringing their signature three day event to Washington, D.C. for the first time during this 10th anniversary of September 11th. The weekend will be centered around an all day outdoor dance concert on the National Mall which is free to the public. The goal of the concert is to bring a message of hope, joy and healing through the universal language of dance.
Alight Dance Theater is excited to be part of this year’s Project Dance event. We’ll be performing excerpts from Speechless as well as some sections from our current project, Truth Be Told. If you want to catch us performing on the National Mall next month, be sure to make your way towards the Washington Monument on Saturday, August 20th. The concert runs from 10am-5pm, and Alight will definitely be performing in the afternoon hours. So, throw some water and sunscreen in your bag, and come join us.
So, I love this photo of alight dancer and choreographer, Monica Warren Schaeffer, all geared up, snazzy headlamp and hard hat and all, ready to head into a cave in the Austrian alps.
The scale of these mountains is incredible. It is hard to imagine Monica moving through the earth under such masses in her pink and purple jacket and just walking out unmarked by the experience.
And, she didn’t. There wasn’t any dramatic cave collapse or television movie worthy moments of harrowing escape, but the experience left its mark on her.
Next weekend, you can get a sneak peek at her new work, Shadowmark, which was inspired by her experience of following a narrow beam of light through the darkness that lays under the weight of the world. You should come–unless, of course, you have plans to go caving the Austrian alps yourself next weekend.
Monica Warren Schaeffer is a founding member of alight. You might remember her beautiful performance in our debut work, Speechless, but you might not know Monica is also a choreographer. This season she is creating a new work for alight. Entitled Shadowmark, this work explores the “heightened consciousness of visibility” Monica experienced while on a caving exploration in the Austrian Alps. This work-in-progress will be performed at Dance Place (Washington, D.C.) as part of the Next Reflex Dance Collective’s “Places in Space” project on June 18 & 19, 2011.
Shadowmark was commissioned by alight dance theater and will premiere in its entirety at Dance Place (Washington, D.C.) on January 21 & 22, 2012.
Looking for somewhere to take class this summer? Join us for our Open Company Class Series meeting every Wednesdays, 6:30-8pm and most Saturdays, 1-2:30pm throughout the summer. (See detailed schedule below.) Instructors include alight Artistic Director, Angella Foster; alight dancer Caitlin Jordan and guest artist Wayles Haynes. For intermediate / advanced level dancers (ages 18 +). All classes will meet at the Greenbelt Community Center dance studio located at 15 Crescent Road, Greenbelt MD 20770 (about 10 minutes from UMD-College Park campus.) The studio is public transit accessible via G12 or G14 bus from the Greenbelt Metro Station or by UMD Shuttle 106. Free parking on-site.
We’re really excited to announce our 2011-2012 season, and we wanted you all to be the first to know. This season we’re presenting three new works: Truth Be Told, directed by alight artistic director Angella Foster; Shadowmark, choreographed by alight dancer Monica Warren Schaeffer and Sandcastle, choreographed by guest artist Wayles Haynes. We hope you’ll mark your calendars and plan to join us!
And, as always, if you’re a dancer in the D.C. area looking for a place to take class, our company classes are free and open to the public on Wednesdays, 6:30-8:00pm and Saturdays, 1:00-2:15pm. For more information about classes, click here.
By the age of eleven, I had some regrets. Ever since I could remember I had wanted to be ballet dancer. By third grade, I had read every single book in my elementary school that even mentioned word dance. No exaggeration. The librarian told me that herself.
All that reading had taught me three very important things. First, ballet dancers were ideally between 5’4 and 5’6 so that even on pointe they would not be “too tall” to be partnered. Secondly, ballet dancers had to start very young at about the age of seven. And, finally, they needed to train everyday, preferably somewhere like New York City or Moscow. Though I kept praying to be no taller than 5’6, I kind of already new I wasn’t going to make it in the world of ballet.
My eventual height wouldn’t change the fact that by eleven years of age I was still living in Kentucky and had only taken a few YMCA dance classes. My parents couldn’t afford fancy lessons, and, even if they could, there weren’t any distinguished schools of dance in my hometown. As if that wasn’t enough, I had flat feet. The books were very clear; flat feet were not ideal for a ballet dancer.
Now, fast forward to last Friday when I performed an excerpt from Speechless for the Women’s Day at Springhill Lake Elementary. Sitting in the audience, at a school cafeteria table, I am nibbling at the breakfast food provided and waiting for the program to begin. Onstage already are the two fifth grade girls who are serving as the hosts of the show. One is very out-spoken, quite confident and the other a quieter girl with a big smile.
In addition, there are about 25 other fifth grade girls ready to deliver biographies of famous women and/or sing with the “selected girls” chorus. They are dressed up in their best clothes which ranges from very trendy fare to classic Sunday-best dresses. They were all fresh-faced, on their best behavior and acting impossibly proud of themselves. They all looked so young, so unmarked by life, just full of future promise and potential.
And then, my eleven year old self chimed in. These girls aren’t waiting to start living in some distant magical future. Everyone of them already has hopes and dreams, maybe even some regrets. They still look like children but inside they are already little women who are starting to work out who and what they want to be. As I watched them sing Mariah Carey’s “Hero,” I stopped thinking about their “potential” and began to appreciate all they had to offer the world already.
The fifth grade girls of Springhill Lake Elementary reminded me that becoming a women, being a woman, is about how you live each day as it comes. In this Women’s History Month, I am inspired by the hope, spirit and seriousness of purpose those young ladies demonstrated. They reminded me that my eleven-year-old regrets have faded away, but the passion and perserverance of my childhood have helped me survive many disappointments. They also reminded me that the women who have served me best in my journey have treated me like the woman I wanted to be rather than the child I was at the moment.